Friday, June 10, 2016 || By Michael Romain
The West Cook YMCA, which operates the Fred Hampton Family Aquatic Center, 300 Fred Hampton Way in Maywood, will be offering free swimming classes when it opens the pool for the summer season. The program is the result of a collaboration between the YMCA and the Village of Maywood.
The YMCA, along with Maywood village officials and community leaders, will mark the Aquatic Center’s opening on Monday, June 13, at 4:30 p.m. The YMCA will operate the pool every day, from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., through Sept. 5.
The free swimming courses, which will be available to both children and adults, are funded through scholarships and will be a series of eight 45-minute sessions taught by YMCA-certified swimming instructors, said West Cook YMCA President and CEO Phillip Jimenez.
“Swimming is such a vital life skill for people of all ages that West Cook YMCA and Village of Maywood officials believe it very important to offer free swim lessons for adult and children who reside in the community,” Jimenez noted in a statement.
The free lessons at Fred Hampton is part of the YMCA’s national Safety Around Water campaign, designed to increase swimming instruction among demographics with historically high drowning rates.
“The Y has taken a national stand to talk about water safety and make sure everyone knows and understands that this is important, and it’s something that will help you for the rest of your life.”
Each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 people die due to unintentional drowning. For black children, ages 5 to 18 years old, the chances of drowning are alarmingly higher than than those for Hispanics and whites. And 10-year-old African-Americans are the most vulnerable to drowning.
Take Part notes notes that the high rates may have a lot to do with the country’s history of segregation. Few places were, and to an extent still are, as segregated in America as swimming pools.
“African Americans were not allowed to swim in the ’40s or ’50s, so if your grandparents didn’t know how to swim, then they didn’t teach your parents, and if your parents didn’t swim, then you might not be a swimmer,” Wright said. “So now it’s just about changing the mind-set at this point.”
“Whether just learning to swim, perfecting a stroke or staying fit, this new program will help everyone safely enjoy the pleasures of an aquatic environment,” said Jimenez. “This is a fine example of the intersection of the YMCA’s missions to advance healthy living, foster youth development and develop social responsibility.” VFP
The Fred Hampton Aquatic Center, in addition to public swim hours, will also host day care camps and private events, according to a West Cook YMCA statement.
For information contact: Lauren Camps, West Cook YMCA Aquatic Coordinator. firstname.lastname@example.org 708.434.0219.
Seasonal Passes can be purchased at: West Cook YMCA, 255 S. Marion St. Oak Park or online @ westcookymca.org/maywoodpool or by phone 708.383.5200.
- Maywood Village Hall, 40 Madison Street, Maywood 708-450-6300
- Fred Hampton Family Aquatic Center, 300 Fred Hampton Way, Maywood
- Maywood Library District, 121 S. 5th Avenue, Maywood 708-343-1847
- Maywood Park District, 921 9th Avenue, Maywood 708-344-4740
- Maywood Fine Arts, 25 N. 5th Avenue, Maywood 708 865-0301